A young warehouseman, his promising football career cut short by injury, counts flanges, valves and couplings for a living. He longs for the warmth and women of the office, but the prostitutes who hang around the high-rise are easier to deal with. Drink provides relief, if not escape, and probably the last thing he should dream of becoming is a writer, but then he buys himself a note pad and pen.
This debut novel by Neil Campbell, author of the short story collections Broken Doll and Pictures From Hopper, is a moving and darkly comic meditation on the challenge of trying to realise dreams in a harsh and unfair world.
‘Neil Campbell’s Sky Hooks is an unsentimental but empathetic and heartfelt book about an ordinary man who could’ve been a contender, a football prodigy whose destiny was irreparably waylaid by injury. It is a book about a working class Mancunian negotiating, in a kind of sustained daze, the pieces of a life subtly shattered by destiny, and how he takes those pieces and tentatively, waywardly, turns himself into someone else.’ —Colin Barrett
‘The work it does is largely done through flat description and that description is as close to the interior monologue of a young Mancunian lad of a particular generation as it is possible to get and still end up with a saleable book. For that alone, this novel is surely already a regional classic of some sort.’ —The Manchester Review of Books
‘A heartfelt account of one man’s journey of self discovery. It is at times moving and thought provoking, and it explores the challenges we face as we learn to adjust in what can be an unfair world.’ —The Owl on the Bookshelf
‘A vital writer, in touch with people and the natural and constructed worlds around us.’ —Nicholas Royle
‘The dialogue is note perfect and has a studied, savage banality.’ —Paul Magrs
‘These are stories not of love but of need and they ache with truth; they are as eerie and lonely as any Hopper painting.’ —Nuala Ní Chonchúir